Notes on Hot Springs
Arriving at a Northern Caliornia hot spring, you will quickly notice the hot spring working hard to give you the message that this is not a hotel, not merely a place to stay, but a place to grow. As you’re waiting in line to register you will see books for sale in case you forgot one. There’s a book by Alan Watts and another book about yogic eating and also Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, about how everything is basically fine. There are also bestsellers: the new Franzen, the new Rooney. There is Michael Pollan telling everyone what to eat or what drugs to take in small amounts to save Berkeley.
If you were thinking about getting wasted at a hot spring you will soon see a bunch of signs telling you not to even think about it. No hot spring cops will inspect your car for bongs or psilocybin-infused honey. No one will sniff your Klean Kanteen, and say “Ma’am, this is vodka, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.” Still, it’s clear if you walked around that place visibly wasted you would find yourself ushered out of the gates by someone who never gets wasted and is therefore always in the same mood and sees no difference between kicking you out and not kicking you out. As said gates closed behind you, you might look back at them and say to yourself “Is there a law in Northern California that in every county no less than sixty percent of metal gates must be decorated wth metal dragons, with metal flames coming out of their mouths?”
So, there is natually hot water here, from hot springs. There is also a cold pool. This might be natural too. Who Knows. Pools everywhere and clothing optional means you will see lots of penises.
You may be disturbed at the number of times the phrase “a grower not a shower” goes through your mind, even though you think you’re not actually looking and even if you imagined you would have more interesting thoughts, like, “Wow, that guy has giant nuts.”
Some people at this place will smile at you when you walk by, most of them will not because the only person who gets to smile in contemplation is the Buddha and that’s because he has it figured out. Other people do not have the luxury of smiling. They will smile when they know what the meaning of life is and not a moment sooner.
There’s a lot of groaning here. People groan because of the relief of the warm water. They groan because the super hot water seems deadly and the super cold water is just so cold, and what if getting in it is just a waste of time for your personal development. There’s a sign that says no sexual activity in the meditation pool! The pool is full of people who are legally not having sex but whose genitals are touching.
A friend arrives late. You will tell her about the no sex sex pool, hoping to make her laugh. She thinks you’re judging people. She thinks you’re Against It. You’re not. You’re just laughing, but you have made a grave error, you have tried to laugh in Northern California near a natural spring.
How dare you.
Best eavesdrop of the weekend: “I don’t want to get paid for my bliss, I want to get paid for my pleasure,” but this was at the food truck, down the hill. The Badger heard it, of course, the lucky bastard.